Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGLO 1977 NO. 1 > Jan 6 1977

Where, in connection with a prosecution in superior court for a violation of state fishing laws, there has been a change of venue from the county in which the action was commenced to another where the trial took place, and a fine was assessed and collected, the county entitled to retain fifty percent of that fine under RCW 75.08.230 is the one in which (1) the trial took place in superior court resulting in a judgment assessing the fine and (2) the fine is collected by the superior court to be remitted to the county treasurer.

AGO 1993 NO. 2 > Mar 10 1993

1.  The Department of Fisheries has the authority to require that salmon caught in Canadian waters meet landing size and possession limits of the State of Washington when the fish are landed at Washington ports.2.  The Department of Fisheries has the authority to set size limits based upon the type of gear being used by the fisherman.

AGO 1996 NO. 3 > Feb 6 1996

1.  The director of the Department of Fish and Wildlife has a generalized duty to enforce the laws requiring fish guards in lakes, rivers, and streams, but has discretion in a particular case to decide whether to institute civil action against a violator, and to decide which remedy to seek. 2.  The director of the Department of Fish and Wildlife has authority to close a diversion device if its owner fails to equip it with an approved fish guard within 30 days after the director gives the owner proper notice. 3.  The director of the Department of Fish and Wildlife does not have explicit authority to compel the owner of a diversion device to equip it with a fish guard where the guard is required by RCW 75.20.040, but has authority to take other actions designed to achieve the same result. 4.  Diversion devices in place prior to the effective date of RCW 75.20.040 (1949) are still subject to its requirements. 5.  The director of the Department of Fish and Wildlife may periodically change requirements for fish guards to ensure that the guards are efficient and durable, but the revised requirements apply only to fish guards installed or replaced after the revisions. 6.  Hydroelectric projects licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission are not subject to the fish guard requirements of RCW 75.20.040. 7.   Since RCW 75.20.040 imposes fish guard requirements for all waters containing food fish, RCW 77.16.220 applies only to waters containing exclusively game fish; the two sets of requirements are similar, except for a "grandfather" clause in RCW 77.16.220 exempting waters diverted before 1947, and a provision in RCW 75.20.040 entitling the Department of Fish and Wildlife to recover the costs of closing a diversion device.

AGLO 1979 NO. 15 > Mar 22 1979


Where a person has obtained an anadromous salmon angling license for a particular calendar year and during that year has caught a total of 30 salmon pursuant to such license, that person must then purchase another annual license in order to be lawfully able to catch any more salmon within the state during the remainder of the same calendar year.

AGO 1996 NO. 16 > Sep 13 1996

The Fish and Wildlife Commission and the director of the Department of Fish and Wildlife may commission, as fisheries patrol officers or as wildlife agents, only persons serving by appointment to positions whose job description includes law enforcement duties.

AGLO 1979 NO. 20 > May 10 1979

(1) When a cold storage facility receives, processes or stores fish caught either within or without the state of Washington, on behalf of others who retain ownership of the fish, that cold storage facility is not obligated to pay or collect either the fish sales tax (RCW 75.32.065) or the privilege fee (RCW 75.32.030).

(2) The exemption from the fish sales tax and privilege fee created by RCW 75.32.065(1) for ". . . frozen food fish . . . packaged for retail sales . . . previously landed in another state, territory or county . . ." does not include fish transported to the state of Washington packaged in ice.

(3) The Department of Fisheries, in collecting taxes and fees due but unpaid, may not administratively waive penalties and interest prescribed by RCW 75.32.101.

AGO 1994 NO. 21 > Nov 23 1994

Section 2(2), chapter 260, Laws of 1994, creating a new limited entry Dungeness crab—coastal fisheries license, effective January 1, 1995, requires that the vessel which meets the historical criteria outlined in chapter 260 be the same vessel designated on the 1994 qualifying license at the time the 1995 license is sought.

AGLO 1978 NO. 33 > Oct 23 1978

For lack of statutory authority (and not because of any constitutional objection), the State Department of Fisheries may not give (i.e., transfer without monetary consideration) surplus edible salmon which have come within its possession or ownership, no matter how obtained, to a federally-recognized Indian tribe (or individual members thereof)‑-except in the case of spawned-out salmon and salmon in spawning condition to the extent permitted by RCW 75.12.130; the department may, however, sell any such other salmon to a federally-recognized Indian tribe for whatever price may be agreed upon between the department and the tribe rather than (necessarily) full market value.

AGO 1959 NO. 71 > Sep 25 1959

The term "fresh fish" as used in Chapter 75.32 RCW includes all fish which are not preserved in some manner and also includes fish to which labor has been applied that changes the characteristics from those normally present in like fish landed by fishermen.

AGLO 1975 NO. 87 > Oct 8 1975

If the department of fisheries purchases commercial fishing vessels under chapter 183, Laws of 1975, 1st Ex. Sess., the department may not then sell those vessels to Indians residing in this state for their use in commercial fishing activities in Washington waters.

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